A Giant Leap.


I said this would be the year of me. I said this would be the year of saying yes. I had no idea what that would mean months later.

13 years ago, I was 23. I had just graduated college a few months before, and had just ended my summer stint at the UCSC conference office. I was preparing to enter the Teach for America program as a Special Ed teacher in New Orleans. I needed a job to get me through until the program started, so I took the typing test at the Hall Kinion temp agency. My second assignment landed me 3 blocks from my house at a little tiny office of 15 or so people who had just rescued a product they had worked for years on from a company that had closed it’s doors. That moment changed my entire path forever.

That company was Curious Labs. I was a customer service person for a product that wasn’t being sold at the time. 6 months later, Steve Cooper bought out my temp contract, I resigned from Teach for America, and I never looked back. In standard start-up situation, my role grew, changed, morphed, shrank, flipped around and then grew some more.

I will never forget sitting in my tiny apartment living room on September 11th, with my coworkers crowded around my TV.

Then we were sold to e frontier, and I was given a choice to become a product manager or run an online store. Steve Yatson and Rylan Hazelton convinced me to join their Content Paradise project and again, a pivotal point on my path came. Again, the scope of that role changed so many times I lost count, and again, 5 years ago, we were sold to Smith Micro.

At Smith Micro, under the mentorship of Lin Petrucci, I felt like I was given a real chance to thrive. These last 5 years have been an amazing adventure, and I’ve felt like I’ve been able to directly contribute to the growth of this business. When Lin left in January, Steve Yatson took the helm and once again gave me a chance to shine. The professional growth I have felt come into my life in the last year alone has been phenomenal.

My job has been my life. Possibly way too much of my personal validation comes from selling consumer products that I love to a community of ARTISTS that are amazing, made by a team I am proud of. I love marketing. I will never forget when Steve Cooper sat me down and said “I see you in marketing.”

These people are honestly my whole world. At my 30th birthday party, 90% of the table was friends I had made from this job, the other few were from college. This job gave me my goddesses, Burning Man and my passport. I call them my family. I have spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with them more than once. It has given me 13 YEARS of an amazing run at my first job out of college. It has given me the title of “longest running employee” on this team that has seen so much change. (See, people like to leave, but like the mob, no one really gets out, they all come back.) This place is my home.

I have changed a lot in the last 13 years and now it’s time for some really big changes to reflect all that other change. It’s time for a new microscope, a new way to validate and analyze if I’m really as good as I think. On Friday, I was offered an opportunity of a lifetime and I’ve accepted. In two weeks, I will be leaving my family at Smith Micro. I will leave the products that I love, the community I helped build and the office that I adore. But I am not leaving for just another job. I am leaving for a a perfect fit. I will joining the fantastic marketing team of Eye-Fi (currently makers of wireless SD cards and apps). As a side bonus, I get to leave the town that is giving me so much heartache. A town I’ve lived in for 17 years, and an apartment I’ve lived in for 10 years…so lots of BIG change happening right now. I get to be a part of the “other side of the hill”. I get to do the same scope of the job that I love so dearly for a product that I own and love, and bond with another creative community. It’s a dream come true. I get to work with amazing NEW mentors who will share all their brilliant tips and tricks and hopefully I’ll be able to prove that I really am as good as I think at demand generation. I need this. I want this. But at the same time, I am so very sad to leave the place that has made me the person and professional that I am.

This is one of the hardest and scariest steps I have ever made in my life. But it’s one of the few times in life that you will ever hear me say this: I AM SO PROUD OF ME! I DID IT! I DESERVE THIS. WOOOOOOOO!

4 thoughts on “A Giant Leap.

  1. Wow! Congratulations, girl! You keep on being your beautiful self and doors of life will just keep opening left and right. Lots of love from cleveland.

  2. Indeed. A Giant Leap. Best of luck on this new path; as everyone should be able to ramp up their lives the way you are right now. If ever you should need, I am but an email away.

  3. Good on ya Miss Tori……everytime one of us breaks free, we all in some way, go with you. I will miss you, but I am more glad that this is your life, and your amazing journey. Thanks for being in the orbit with me so long.

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